April 25, 2011 Leave a comment
Reviewing “Spectre of the Gun” and “Day of the Dove.”
The official site of Ron "AAlgar" Watt and Matt Rowbotham's Star Trek-themed podcast.
April 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Mark “Bob” Boszko joins us to review “The Paradise Syndrome,” “And the Children Shall Lead,” and “Is There in Truth No Beauty?”
April 12, 2011 Leave a comment
I remember this coming out whenever I bought what seemed to be every mainstream comic I could. Needless to say I waded through a lot of rubbish in that so the thought of a Deep Space Nine comic was quite a highlight. Alas it didn’t turn out that way. Reading it again eleven years later, my opinion hasn’t changed much.
The main characters whom we’ve already seen in DS9 I’m not sure but they felt a little off most of the time. There was nothing intrinsicly wrong with their characterisation, in fact it might have been the art putting me off a lot of the time, more on that later.
As for the new characters, new Defiant Commander, Tiris Jast, was apparently in the novels after this. I’m not sure if she was better in the books but she just annoyed me in this. I get that she’s supposed to be annoying but there just seemed no reason for her to be like that.
For Viqtor I quite liked the character especially since he seemed to confuse Quark for most of it (though who knows that could be how the writer thought Quark was) but would’ve preferred a better way for him to end the story.
Romulan Scientist, Mos Senay, probably started out as a scientist to find out a way to turn himself into a city on Tattooine. He moved on from that to another equally stupid idea, making a virus that can infect anything and anyone. Pfft, those Romulans eh? What will they be up to next?
Which takes me to the story. While not a bad story it wasn’t really that good, it didn’t feel like a DS9 story and felt like generic sci-fi shoehorned into that universe. It starts off with sabotage on the station and O’Brien being brought back and charged for it. Poor O’Brien, he probably thought now the show was over and he was on Earth it was all plain-sailing now. Well aside from his Horrible Wife that is. So it turns out the sabotage is all the result of this viroid. To cut a long story short (too late) it destroyed. Or is it? And everyone lives happily ever after. Or do they? Well it’s temporarily destroyed, which makes it a bit weird that Mos Eisley wants to die with it. Um, bit melodramatic isn’t he since it’ll come back.
The art, I didn’t like at all. The number one problem I had with it was that the characters didn’t look the way they did onscreen, in fact sometimes I had trouble telling who they were. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a problem in other comics, but it is when you’re dealing with a TV series/film franchise! The other problem with the art was it just wasn’t any good, though that one at least is a matter of opinion.
So overall an okay comic which should’ve been a lot better for what was a fantastic TV series.
“Irish” Gav Brown is a regular guest on the Post Atomic Horror podcast, and is currently making his way through Star Trek: Voyager by way of his blog, “Get the Cheese to Sickbay.”
April 11, 2011 Leave a comment
We kick of season 3 of ST:TOS with “Spock’s Brain” and “The Enterprise Incident.”
April 4, 2011 Leave a comment
I went through a period in the mid-90s – during that brief time after Next Generation went off the air and before I discovered that Deep Space Nine was worth my attention – during which I consumed every paperback my local library had with Star Trek in the title. This was when I discovered that the vast amount of Trek literature, like any extensive “expanded universe,” I think, is not actually very good. A few books did make an impression on me, and while Diane Duane’s Spock’s World was not the best one I read (that distinction, pending a current re-read, probably still belongs to Federation), it was the most influential.
Yes, I said “influential.” This is the degree to which my dorky obsession with Star Trek has overlapped my actual life – a book about the imaginary backstory of imaginary aliens and their imaginary philosophy actually opened my eyes in kind of a profound way. Duane colors her interpretation of Vulcans and their whole “casting out of emotions” with a decidedly eastern flavor. The words of Surak, the great Vulcan philosopher, are quite similar to those of the Buddha (with shades of Confucius and Jesus and a few others for good measure). So when you’re in that “hungry to learn about the world” space at age twenty or so, and you find a gleaming kernel of exotic and appealing philosophy in your book about space men… it can change your life a little. And it kind of did.
But enough about my post-adolescent intellectual posturing – how was the book, AAl? Well, you know… the Internet loves using the word “epic” for the most mundane of triumphs. That breakfast was epic, and so on. But this book is epic in the true sense of the word – it covers tens of thousands of years, following the progress of an entire fictional culture. The scope of it is extraordinary, yet we never feel like the author is reaching too far.
Intertwined with a historical narrative following Vulcan from its cosmic formation to the birth of Spock tens of thousands of years later is a story of political intrigue. Vulcan is threatening to secede from the Federation, so the Enterprise is called back so that Kirk, Spock and Bones (who have been involved fairly intimately with the world in the past) can deliver testimony during the public debates.
Oddly, Spock has little direct role in this overall story. It involves him (in ways I won’t reveal for fear of spoilers), but apart from a rousing speech near the end, he doesn’t do much of the heavy lifting, plot-wise. I’m okay with that – especially since the slack is picked up by Bones. The light irony of McCoy solving a mystery on Vulcan is, of course, fantastic.
Duane’s attention not only to character (an entire chapter of backstory for Sarek only serves to enhance a character who was already one of my favorite supporting guys in all of Trek) but to scientific detail makes this a particularly solid read. The aforementioned formation of Vulcan seems technically correct without being boring. The Enterprise is populated with exotic alien crewmembers who are given appropriately alien viewpoints. And one narrative thread – the anonymous debates occurring on the Enterprise’s electronic bulletin board system – date the book slightly in the late 80s, but also feel quite accurate in terms of what the Internet would one day become. So while the liberal usage of the term BBS feels a bit outdated, the actual behavior of its denizens are suprisingly prescient and also add to the story rather than feeling like a “hey, here’s a cool thing” kind of distraction.
Another note on the historical interludes: it’s a true sign of how impressive this book is that I was actually more captivated by some of the Vulcan chapters than the Kirk/Spock/McCoy stuff. That almost never happens for me – I have a general “when are they going to get to the fireworks factory?!” attitude toward most original author creations. But some of this stuff – especially the story of the prehistoric Vulcan who discovered Mount Seleya (a tale that truly lives up to the word “epic”) – had me seriously disappointed when we switched back to the present of the future.
Best of all, Duane walks the line that so many sci-fi writers – particularly Star Trek writers – fail to walk successfully: she makes the Vulcans strange and convincingly alien, yet manages to speak about humanity at the same time. I mean, what’s the point of reading about a culture so alien from ours that there’s nothing recognizable? Alternately, what’s the point of just making them misshapen humans?
This book is one of the primary reasons I didn’t like Enterprise (well, there were many reasons) – the idea of Vulcans as our smug overseers felt weird and wrong. This depiction, where humans and Vulcans are equals who run into occasional problems comprehending each other’s culture, though not official canon, has always worked better for me. The fact that Spock’s World was cited as a favorite by the team that wrote the 2009 film was the first sign I saw that it might actually be in competent hands.
Spock’s World is on the very short list of what I would call “essential Star Trek reading.” It’s also a uniquely novel story – a movie or episode would not have carried the scope of this. If you’re a fan of the original series and you’re looking for a good starting point as far as expanded universe, you could do a lot worse. And trust me, I’ve read a lot of those other books – “a lot worse” means exactly that.
Oh, and a point of unintentional hilarity: the Vulcans refer to their sun as The Homestar.